Easy Potato Salad Recipe with Tips

This is an easy potato salad recipe – We love this stuff! Joanne and I would be happy to hover over a bowl of it any day. It has few extras thrown in, too. Jump to our Easy Potato Salad Recipe now or read on for more tips.

Homemade Mayonnaise RecipeYou May Also Like This: Make your potato salad extra special with Homemade Mayonnaise! See our Fail-Proof Mayonnaise Recipe made with whole egg, mustard, vinegar and oil.

You’ll notice that we’ve made lots of suggestions for substitutions and mentioned where things are optional (like eggs). We love everything listed, but potato salad is personal. Always add to your likings and taste.

How to Make the Best Potato Salad

Our recipe is pretty classic with just a few extras thrown in. Here are our best tips for making potato salad.

Easy Potato Salad Recipe with Tips

Best Potatoes to Use and How to Cook Them

We like the potatoes to hold a little shape in the salad and not fall apart. We go for small, waxy and thin-skinned potatoes. Small yellow, white or red potatoes are perfect. They will take between 12 and 20 minutes to cook. At 12 minutes we check for doneness — if a fork can pierce through easily, they are done.

We try not to use russet (baking) potatoes — they aren’t as waxy and seem to fall apart. We have used them on occasion (they still taste great). If that’s all you have, don’t worry. If using russet potatoes, dice them before cooking — they are usually much larger and would take a long time if cooked whole. Keep everything similarly sized then cook until a fork can easily pierce the potato.

For smaller potatoes (we prefer these), we cook them whole. Dicing them up will make things go faster, but when you cook the potatoes whole, they maintain more of their flavor and natural sweetness. We’re also partial to the texture of whole cooked potatoes. Speaking of cooking potatoes, there’s really no need to boil your potatoes. When you do they violently bash against each other. Instead, bring the water with potatoes to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. The potatoes cook just as quickly.

Easy Potato Salad with Tips - Don't forget the salt

No matter what potato you choose to cook, don’t forget the salt. We cover the potatoes with 1 1/2 inches of water then generously salt the water. Two teaspoons of salt per quart of water should do it.

By salting the water, the flavor of the potatoes really comes out. They won’t taste salty, only like awesome potatoes.

Once your potatoes are done, drain them and stop the potatoes from cooking by adding them to an ice bath. After 2 to 3 minutes they will be cool enough to handle.

Simple Potato Salad with Tips -- Peeling the Potatoes

Now, you have two choices: skin- on or peel them. We peel them. Since cook them whole, it’s really easy to peel the potatoes — just pinch the skin and pull it away. (So much easier than peeling raw potatoes).

After that, cut into bite-size pieces and mix with dressing and other ingredients in our or your favorite recipe.

Joanne's Favorite Coleslaw RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Joanne’s Favorite Coleslaw recipe! With a generous amount of acidity from apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard, our favorite coleslaw is anything but dull.

More Tips — Vinegar, Mustard, Pickles, Eggs and Herbs

Potato salad is a personal process and there are lots of opinions out there as to what makes it “perfect” or “the best.” The recipe below is our version — it includes everything we love. Here are a few things we love to add — remember that you can add none of it or more of it.

  • The Basics — The base to our recipe is pretty classic — a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise. We add more sour cream than mayonnaise to lighten things up a bit — mayo can be heavy.
  • MustardWe love adding mustard. It jazzes everything up. We’re partial to American-style yellow mustard, but Dijon or whole grain mustard work well, too.
  • VinegarWe learned this tip from Alton Brown. After cooking and cutting, scatter a tablespoon or so of vinegar over the potatoes. The vinegar really makes the potatoes stand out. In our recipe we call for apple cider vinegar, but white wine vinegar, white vinegar or even some dill pickle juice work.
  • Pickles — Our house isn’t stable without dill pickles in the refrigerator so adding them is a no brainer for us. If you don’t like them leave them out or replace with sweet pickles.
  • Eggs — Maybe it’s how we were brought up or what we’re used to. To us, potato salad without eggs is missing something. Hard boiled eggs add texture and extra creaminess. If you aren’t a fan, leave them out.
  • Fresh Herbs — The most common herbs are parsley and chives, but dill, cilantro and tarragon all work well. In our recipe below, we use two both dill and parsley. Experiment for yourself to see what you love. Add a tablespoon at a time then taste. Also, remember dill and tarragon are a little stronger than other herbs so add accordingly.

Simple Potato Salad Recipe with Tips

Recipe updated, originally posted May 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Easy Potato Salad Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK

Small yellow, white, or red potatoes are best for potato salad. The potatoes maintain their natural moisture and sweetness this way. If you’re in a pinch, you can chop the potatoes, just remember they well take less time to cook. Adding fresh herbs are a nice touch – we like to use a combination of chopped parsley and dill. Parsley, dill, chives, tarragon and cilantro all work well. Add about 2 tablespoons of herbs at first then add more to taste. Dill and tarragon are strong, so you may not need the whole 1/4 cup.

Makes 6 Servings

You Will Need

2 pounds small yellow, red, or white potatoes

1 tablespoon apple cider, wine, or rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise recipe

1 tablespoon yellow mustard, substitute Dijon or whole grain mustard

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

3 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 medium dill pickle, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped, optional

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, or cilantro)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Cook Potatoes
  • Add potatoes to large pot and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water. Season with salt — use 1 teaspoon for every quart of water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.

    Meanwhile, set up an ice bath. Add cold water to a medium bowl filled with ice. Drain the potatoes and add to the ice bath. Once cool, peel potatoes by gently pinching the skin and pulling it away.

    Chop peeled potatoes into bite-size chunks then add to a large bowl. Scatter the vinegar over potatoes and lightly season with salt.Potato-Salad-Recipe-Step-1

    • "De-flame" Onions
    • While the potatoes cook, add onions to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Wait 10 minutes then rinse. (This tones down the raw flavor of the onions).Deflaming the Onions

      • Make Potato Salad
      • Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and the mustard in a bowl.

        Add sour cream mixture, de-flamed onion, celery, pickles, eggs, and herbs to the potatoes. Gently stir to combine. (Try not to mash the potatoes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Substitute 1/2 cup crème fraîche for the sour cream.
  • Make-Ahead Tip: Make potato salad up to 3 days in advance.
  • For instructions on how to cook hard boiled eggs, visit our tutorial: How to Cook Hard Boiled Eggs.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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143 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Karla August 30, 2016, 6:58 pm

    Just made this for dinner. I messed up and mixed the vinegar with the mayo but it was fine, we could still taste a hint of it. Did not have any fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried dill and parsley. Great overall flavor! I prepared potatoes exactly as described and they were perfect! Will keep this recipe for sure.

  • Kayra August 18, 2016, 8:46 pm

    I can’t forget the taste of deli potato salads I had when I was a student in the USA. Now I’m back to Turkey and decided to make MY own deli salad. This reciepe perfectly satisfied me although I had to replace sourcream with pale greek yoghurt. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Martha Tillman September 3, 2016, 9:33 pm

      This is the recipe my sister made in the 1960’s. Her Russian Morher In-law was her inspiration. It is always a success when I make it for family or groups. Sour cream is a great way to cut the heavy mayo. We even used a touch of garlic powder.

  • Estrellita Malabanan August 3, 2016, 11:16 pm

    Being a Filipino I love sweeter taste hence instead of sour cream we add pineapple tidbits and a little condensed milk to mayonnaise and pickle relish.

  • Maisy July 31, 2016, 11:50 am

    Just made this and it’s great! I love potato salad, but am not a big fan of mayonnaise so this was a perfect mix of ingredients for the dressing. I also love the inclusion of vinegar — it adds a hardly-detectable punch.
    Will definitely make this again!

  • Lidia July 30, 2016, 11:15 pm

    I found this recipe a few years back and I still make it the same way. My family loves when I bring this to our bbqs. The dill and vinegar really gives it that amazing taste.

  • Ashish Khadke July 26, 2016, 2:54 am

    Yummm Yummm …..It is looking damn delicious.
    I will surely try it.
    Thank you.

  • Louise July 25, 2016, 8:48 pm

    Can I use gluten free flour for your banana bread recipe?

    • Joanne July 28, 2016, 4:55 pm

      You should be able to with success.

  • Kate D. July 4, 2016, 2:44 pm

    This one tastes much better than the Potato salad from the deli. Mixing the mayo with the sour cream and yellow mustard to taste is the secret IMO; but I find the pickles too tart for my taste. I prefer pimento stuffed olives instead. I might try the Bermuda onions instead pf the scallions that I typically use. A small amount of sliced radish is also nice if you happen to have some on hand. The hardest part for me is getting the potatoes cooked to perfection. The thin skinned potatoes make this a lot easier.

  • Diana S June 20, 2016, 4:29 pm

    I will be heading out to a family gathering for the holiday and plan on making this. Sounds so good. Thank you,

  • Annie Frances June 20, 2016, 2:25 pm

    I appreciate that you said how potato salad is a personal process. I’m looking for Kosher dill pickles to put in my salad. Maybe I’ll add some mustard and fresh herbs as well. Thanks!

  • Debbie June 17, 2016, 8:37 pm

    Has anyone ever tried this with chopped green pepper and radish? I want to make this recipe, but I was wondering if these extra veggies would be good in it.

    • Joanne June 18, 2016, 1:13 pm

      Both would be great and would add a nice crunch to the salad.

  • Shauna Williams March 25, 2016, 8:21 pm

    Awesome!!! Awesome!!! Awesome!!! Has been my go-to recipe for potato salad for over a year now.

  • kelly February 2, 2016, 12:42 am

    Thanks for this recipe! Our family devoured it. I must say I was a little skeptical about the pickles, but it was amazing! I think the things that truly make it great are the use of vinegar, sour cream and mellowing out the onions… eggs are a must for us and we added a little extra. The only things I did to customize for us on day 2 were add a few finely sliced radishes for added crunch/color (family recipe), a pinch of cayenne for a bit more tang, and a dash of seasoning salt. What a great recipe!

  • Gail January 24, 2016, 11:51 pm

    Delicious potato salad, and it is in the fridge waiting to be eaten tomorrow on our Australia Day holiday. Had to taste, yum! Must say takes far longer to prepare all up than the 35 mins stated, but well worth it. Made as suggested, the mustard is a winner added to the dressing, thank you.

    • Alba Wendling April 7, 2016, 4:37 pm

      What is Australia Day? l make my potato salad the same way. I like to add sliced fresh radishes. Good recipe..keep up the good work.

  • Mary November 27, 2015, 2:00 pm

    Quick to put together and tastes just like I wanted it to. Thanx so much!

  • Jane Miller July 28, 2015, 2:22 pm

    Love the recipe. Great directions. Would so enjoy your weekly newsletter .thank you ,Jane. 80 yr old who loves to cook!y

  • Sharon Seiber June 18, 2015, 5:07 pm

    I usually use diced water chesnuts for the crunch. We love potato salad here, and would never make it without eggs!

  • Dale May 29, 2015, 7:53 pm

    I add celery seed to my potato salad, and while still warm I added cubed Colby jack cheese,1block

    • Kathy July 3, 2015, 11:56 am

      I also add celery an celery seed to my potato salad.. I also add a small amount of oil to my potatoes after I cut them up.. It coats the potatoes so the mayo doesn’t make it soggy..

  • Shari May 29, 2015, 6:36 pm

    I always loved my mom’s potato salad. I’ve tried to make it over the years and it’s been a hit and miss venture. I made this last year and really loved it but didn’t save the website. I found you again and have loaded the recipe into my iPad cookbook. I can’t wait to make it for Fourth of July!!!

  • geneva lane May 21, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I read most of the reviews and although I haven’t made this recipe I would like to tell you what makes mine so special…First instead of the vinigar I use Italian dressing…The difference in my salad is that I use lots of eggs that have been put in the processer..I actually use a dozen!.It is the magic ingredient if you like eggs!..I also top my salad with real bacon chips that I pre cooked and some of the eggs that have been put in the processor.I use about 4 pounds of potatoes..I am always asked to bring my potato salad to a potluck…

  • Mikayla April 18, 2015, 3:33 pm

    I know I can use vegan mayo, but what can be used in place of sour cream here for vegans?
    The recipe looks yummy, I’d love to try it out!

    • Joanne April 21, 2015, 1:01 pm

      You could try using more of a vinaigrette-style dressing than creamy/mayo based. I’ve seen people use a cashew dressings as well. Take a look at this one from Whole Foods.


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